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We Were Here (2011)We Were Here (2011)

           In the 1970s San Francisco, and especially its Castro Street district, was the destination for thousands of gay men. By 1981, though, the revelry of the bath houses had turned into a national tragedy. This heart-wrenching documentary tells the story of the AIDS crisis as it unfolded in San Francisco through the stories of five people who experienced it first hand. One of them remembers how early on he saw three Polaroid photographs taped in a store window depicting a man with the telltale purple splotches of Kaposi's sarcoma in his mouth and on his chest, along with a warning: "Watch out, something's out there!" There's no narration in the film, just the poignant stories of the five people, complimented by archival footage and still photos. By the time a reliable test for HIV was available, as many as 50% of the gay community was infected with the virus. Vilified by the public, shunned by Reagan era politics, ostracized by their families, with no reliable medical diagnosis or treatment, they were utterly alone and with no place to go. What emerged was a compassionate and politically active community. They took care of each other. "I don't need to worry when I get old," says Eileen Glutzer, "that I didn't do anything." I watched this film on Netflix streaming.

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